oneVCH COVID-19 Bulletin
May 26, 2020
Bulletins are also available on the COVID-19 section of our VCH staff intranet.
If you receive a media inquiry or see media at any of our locations, please contact our Public Affairs team. Our media line is 604-202-2012 or email
  • 11 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C.
  • Total of 2,541 laboratory confirmed cases in the province. 
    • Vancouver Coastal Health: 897
    • Fraser: 1,261  
    • Interior Health: 194
    • Vancouver island: 127
    • Northern Health: 62
  • 37 hospitalized 
  • 7 currently admitted to ICU
  • 2,122 have fully recovered
  • 161 confirmed deaths
Click here to see more updates on the BC COVID-19 Dashboard

Join us for a virtual webcast this Thursday! 

You are invited to participate in a virtual town hall this Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The theme of this week’s town hall is personal protective equipment (PPE). Following the presentation, panelists will answer your questions via Mentimeter.
To join the virtual town hall, please click on the link below:


Provincial child-care town hall for parents on Wednesday, May 27

The Province is hosting a child-care town hall for parents. While updated guidelines are in place to support child care centres, they know staff who are parents of young children continue to have questions during this time, and the health and safety of children, families, and child care professionals continues to be a top priority.

A virtual town hall is being held for parents on Wednesday, May 27 at 3 p.m, with Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care, Dr. Trevor Corneil, Medical Lead, Office of the Provincial Health Officer, and moderator Jinny Sims, MLA.  Parents can watch live on the Government of BC Facebook page or the BC YouTube channel. This is part of a series of townhalls government is hosting to keep British Columbians safe and informed.

For more information on child-care supports available to VCH staff, please visit the Staff Supports Child Care page.

Coffee break with IPAC

Our ongoing series of coffee breaks with Infection Prevention continue on Wednesday, May 27 from 2:30 to 3 p.m. This week experts will be discussing restarting clinical services from an infection prevention perspective, along with live Q&A via Menti.

Tune in Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. using the following link: If prompted for a password, enter 1234. Please stick around until the end of the Q&A to fill out a quick evaluation and tell us what you’d like to see as a future topic.

Unable to join live? The presentation will be uploaded to the IPAC site following the event, and questions we couldn’t get to will be answered. Recordings of previous sessions and transcripts of past Q&As are there too, under Coffee with Infection Control.

Q&A: Non-medical masks 

When is it appropriate to wear a medical grade mask?

Medical masks such as surgical masks and N95 respirators should only be used by health-care workers in patient-care areas and, and by patients in health-care settings who are sick. Such masks are an appropriate part of infection prevention and control if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are caring for a person with symptoms. The mask acts as a barrier to protect health-care staff and also helps stop droplets from spreading when you cough or sneeze.

Can I take medical masks home for my personal use?

VCH staff should never take medical masks for their personal use outside of a clinical setting. These masks are an essential part of PPE protocols and supplies are limited. 

Now I have a better understanding of the appropriate use of masks. What else can I do to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus?

The single best preventative measure against COVID-19 is to stay home from work if you are sick, and get tested if you have even mild symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Also practicing excellent hand hygiene, including frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. As well, it is extremely important that you avoid touching your face, sneeze or cough into your elbow, and practice physical distancing (at least two metres from other people when you are outside of your home or workplace).

Stay (GF) Strong: Music therapist counters social isolation with song

​A music therapist at VCH's GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre is using song to boost the morale of her colleagues – and all staff and physicians across the organization – during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Katherine Wright created two photo slideshows of GF Strong ​employees holding up inspiring messages, then paired them with popular songs (Lean on Me and We are Family) to uplift the Vancouver Coastal Health community.

“This project was a way for us to encourage one another, have a little fun and support other health-care workers," she says, noting she picked the songs so people would know they can lean on each other for support, that they're all in this together and to have a little fun.

“Life has become very serious for so many of us, and hopefully people can feel supported, uplifted and part of a bigger community after watching this."

Read the full story here.

The beginning of Phase 2

Last week, we entered Phase 2 of the COVID-19 response planning. After a few long months, many of us may be feeling the effects of the long days and frayed nerves as we adjust to the upheaval. As a reminder, here are the COVID-19 Supports available to you from our wellness team:   
  • Telephone and Video Counselling Sessions
    Individual, confidential video and phone sessions with one of our experienced counsellors.
  • Calm & Contain
    30-minute individual telephone sessions to help deescalate, if needed, and find calm
  • 24/7 Critical Incident Response and Therapist On-Call
    Speak to one of our on-call senior CISD / crisis clinicians, 24/7, for immediate support, or to arrange a virtual debriefing.
  • Manager Consultations: Manager consults with a seasoned counsellor (with 10 plus years experience in the healthcare setting) to help support managers in supporting anxious teams and team members as well as your own anxiety and emotions.
  • Self-Care Resiliency Coaching
    Self-care during COVID-19. Create a three-month self-care plan with your own well-being coach to take care of your most important resource: You. Sleep, diet, personal resiliency tools, barriers and support are just a few topics you might expect to cover in your confidential telephone sessions.
  • Taking Care of Me: Coping with COVID-19 DAILY WEBINARS:
    Though everyone is different, anxiety, fear and uncertainty can be natural reactions, and there are strategies you can use to manage these feelings while you continue to provide care.
To access any of these services: Go to or email

For suggestions or feedback on Caring for our Community & Caring for Ourselves, please contact the People+Culture team at

To contact Employee Wellness/EFAP, please visit or email us at To get started with one of our services, please fill out this form.
Already but not yet

Surgeries are restarting at our hospitals. Retail stores are now open and it's okay to go camping. These are all signs of things already being different, closer to normal. 

However PPE is still required for all patient care. You cannot go to a concert and you cannot drive across the border. These are all signs of how things are not yet where we want them to be. We could say things are already returning to a state of normal - but not really - not completely, not yet. It is a time period which tests our ability to live in the present moment, precisely because it is impermanent, which is an odd thing to say. It feels a little like when your car is stuck in second gear no matter how slow or how fast you drive. It works (sort of), but not properly, and we know what it should feel like.       

Something new has to arrive on the scene for things to become fully what we could call normal or what now seems like the good old days. Anticipation runs strong but we don't want to get our hopes up too high too soon. A vaccine, they say, is still many months away, if not more. An antiviral might be here sooner if we are fortunate. But for now, it’s still social distancing, hand washing and masking that are the mainstay. They are constant reminders of the not yet side of the equation. Even if we understand it all cognitively, it is still emotionally confusing. Talk about the glass being half full or half empty!

It's a time of balancing. It would be unwise to let our guard down too much, but emotionally we need to embrace the less restrictive rules, even while we refrain from embracing each other. On Saturday, I picked up a jacket that I purchased three months ago. Just picking it up from the store felt good, even though the trip I had bought it for was postponed, along with my daughter's wedding that is still not yet re-scheduled. This is all part of being in this already but not yet time we are all currently in.  

Maybe our present experience gives us just a tiny hint of what the Jewish people felt like when they were with Moses in the desert for 40 years. They were already free, but not yet home. It was a time of great temptation to stray from the plan, to overthrow Moses and even to return to Egypt. We can see such temptation these days south of the border. Living in an interim time period is challenging. But, like the Jewish people we can make it if we keep the faith that we are on the right path. If the battle season of March and April required courage, now we require maturity and patience. So, whether you are like me, all dressed up in new clothes with no place to go, or in similarly odd circumstances, let us once again take our cue from Dr. Bonnie Henry and remind ourselves that this is not forever. We are making progress, as odd as it feels.

The great thing and the hard thing is to stick to things when you have outlived the first interest, and not yet got the second which comes with a sort of mastery. Janet Erskine Stuart (Mother Superior, Educator and Writer)

Written by Doug Longstaffe, Profession Leader, Spiritual Care & Multifaith Services
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